Dubai: Counselor Ismail Madani, Senior Advocate General and Head of Public Funds Prosecution on Saturday affirmed that the Public Prosecution is continuing its unremitting efforts to implement the national strategy to combat money laundering and terrorism financing crimes and put in place a strong financial crime control system in the UAE. He said the Public Prosecution also remains committed to support efforts to address these crimes by integrating the roles of competent government agencies and enhancing cooperation among them.
He explained that the Public Prosecution and its specialised partners, such as courts, police agencies, Central Bank, Customs, Financial Information Unit and the Executive Office have been given explicit authority to combat crimes of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Other law enforcement agencies have also been authorised to receive reports about suspicious financial practices, issue decisions, track and seize funds and monitor bank accounts. The Criminal Court has been authorised to impose penalties, confiscations and fines related to funds obtained from these crimes. The legal authority and powers given to these organisations are part of supportive measures aimed at helping them detect crimes and its perpetrators without prejudice to the legislation in force.
Faisal bin Sulaitin, Executive Director of Dubai Economic Security Centre, stressed that the coordinated efforts of competent authorities to combat economic crimes and protect the funds of the Emirate of Dubai and the UAE from such crimes reflect the commitment to implement the directives of the leadership to combat money laundering and terrorism financing crimes. The efforts also demonstrate the commitment to detect and deter improper and criminal financial dealings within the territory of the state and use of the territory to facilitate the transit or transfer of funds resulting from any criminal activity.
Bin Sulaitin highlighted the continuous support of the UAE for global efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, in compliance with the standards of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He said the state has taken important steps in the past years to develop a legal framework for achieving this and identify institutional paths for implementing procedures and measures for countering money laundering and financing of terrorism.
He further said the establishment of Dubai Economic Security Centre represents Dubai’s first line of defense to protect itself from economic crimes. This will help raise the confidence of global investors in Dubai's secure environment and encourage international financial institutions to make Dubai the centre of their business operations, he added.
He called on all public and private institutions and members of society to participate in combating the risks resulting from actions harmful to economic security that investors or consumers may be exposed to or any funds and gains belonging to the emirate, through all the channels provided by competent authorities in the emirate, including the Dubai Economic Security Centre.
As part of the tireless efforts of all concerned authorities in the UAE to combat financial crimes, a former employee of a Dubai bank was convicted of embezzling more than Dh5.23 million belonging to real estate development companies that were deposited with the bank, by agreement and with the assistance of his wife, the second accused. Essam Eisa Al Humaidan, Attorney General of Dubai, ordered a criminal case to be filed against them following the completion of investigations, and referred them to the Criminal Court, which handed its judgment of conviction which included imprisonment for five years in absentia, return of the embezzled money and deportation from the country.
In another ruling on a case, the Dubai Criminal Court convicted a defendant, who entered the country through Dubai International Airport, on the charge of concealing funds in his possession. The court issued a judgment imposing a fine of Dh100,000 and confiscating the amount seized from him in different currencies equivalent to Dh1,108,484 in accordance with Federal Law. No. (20) of 2018 issued by the UAE Central Bank, which specifies the upper limit for funds that can be carried by those coming to the country or leaving its territories without disclosure.
In another case, the Court convicted nine defendants on the charge of providing exchange services and transferring money without a license, in addition to money laundering.
Another case saw the Court sentencing the first accused to two years’ imprisonment and the second accused to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of Dh300,000 each along with deportation from the country. It also convicted the company of the second accused in its capacity as a legal person and imposed a fine of Dh1 million and confiscation of the seized funds, amounting to Dh8,783,577. Counselor Ismail Madani stated that the defendants committed the crime of money laundering by transferring the financial proceeds amounting to US$3,290,000 from the company account of the first accused in a bank in the USA to the local bank account of the third accused in the country.
The transfer was an act of fraud on the complainant company in the USA, which was committed with the intention of concealing and disguising the truth of the proceeds and its illegal source. Also, the first accused, along with others of good faith working for a legal consultancy firm in the country, committed the crime of money laundering, by transferring financial proceeds worth US$685,500 from his company's account to the local bank account of the law firm in the country. This resulted in the crime of defrauding the complainant company based in the USA. This crime was committed with the intention of concealing and disguising the truth of the proceeds and its illegal source.
In another case involving three defendants, the Court delivered a ruling sentencing the first accused to imprisonment for five years and deportation from the country, and the second accused to three years’ imprisonment and deportation. The Court also ordered the confiscation of an amount of Dh5,500,000 deposited in the account of the second accused, as well as an amount of Dh1.5 million dirhams in the account of the second accused seized by the Public Prosecution.
The Court also imposed fines on the two defendants amounting to Dh53,476,023, the value of the money involved in the crime. It also imposed fines of Dh10,000 each on three legal companies following their conviction of two charges of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and forgery in an unofficial document. The three defendants defrauded and misappropriated money amounting to Dh1 million belonging to the victim and his company, using fraudulent means by exploiting the victim’s professional knowledge as an auditor and manager who is familiar with the financial balance sheet of the company that he shares with others, and as per trade license issued to it by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, leasing 23 offices and re-leasing it.
One of the defendants claimed that their company makes profits in the range of Dh500,000 annually through investment rights in re-leasing those offices. The three defendants made an offer to the victim to buy that company with the rights to invest in the amount of Dh1,300,000, supported by a forged document that showed the value of those expected profits, which they claimed was set to increase in the following years.
They then persuaded him to agree to sell for him by an amount of Dh1 million, which deceived the victim and his company and prompted him to hand over these amounts to the three defendants through six payments, including three payments of Dh425,000 in cash and transferring the remaining amount, Dh575,000, at their request from the account of a company to the account of an establishment, as he is the authorised signatory as stated in the papers.
The above mentioned three defendants also committed the crime of breach of trust with the same victim by embezzling money amounting to Dh982,752, belonging to the victim and his company, which was handed over to them by trust, and to be used for the benefit of the victim, as the first accused exploited the victim's desire to change the furniture for 23 offices invested by the company and purchased by him (the same offices related to the criminal case), and that the third accused is a co-owner of the company.
They offered the victim to furnish the aforementioned offices through the last mentioned company with money amounting to Dh1,227,500, and they asked him for transferring an advance payment of 80% of that amount to the account of the company managed by the third accused for manufacturing and shipping furniture for him. They then absconded, harming the right holders.
The three aforementioned defendants also committed another crime of defrauding the same victim by misappropriating for themselves money amounting to 7,153, 690 euros (equivalent to Dh34,337,712) belonging to the victim, his company and another foreign company (partner with them in joint commercial operations in the country), using fraudulent means as they exploited the victim and his company’s search for a plot of land to buy it for building a hotel or hotel apartments. They offered him maps and plans of a plot of land in the Business Bay area suitable for the project, and they took him to the location of that plot so as to inspect it.
Contrary to the truth, they claimed to him that he was an intermediary from its owner to sell it and that the latter wanted to sell it for Dh67,475,430 and he would agree to reduce its value to Dh58,337,745 (equivalent to 12,153,690 euros) in the event of paying in cash and he asked him to send the sums received from their partner (the concerned investor in the foreign country) to his company’s account in euros until a real estate account is opened for that project, which deceived the victim and his company and made him agree to send that amount. He transferred the amount of 12,153,690 Euros through one transfer from his company account for the purchase of that land.
The defendants transferred only an amount of 5,000 euros to the escrow account of the victim's company, and then misappropriated the rest of those amounts and transferred it to accounts in their favour. The first accused then absconded.
After executing those crimes, the defendants laundered the money they got by committing crimes of fraud and breach of trust by making transfers to the accounts of establishments and then transferring part of those amounts in their favour by means of several different cheques, either in the name of unknown persons or written in the name of the first absconding accused with the intention of concealing and disguising its illegal source, as well as to conceal the manner of its disposal and movement, in addition to laundering part of those funds through the use of personal accounts by depositing some cheques, re-transferring the amounts to the account of one of the accused, withdrawing and misappropriating the remaining amounts, and using part of it to purchase a plot of land in his favor with his knowledge of it.